Las Cruces Workplace Accident LawyersLast updated on: July 29, 2022
Call (800) 863-5312 To Speak With Zinda Law Group’s Las Cruces workplace accident lawyers Today
New Mexico law requires that most employers with at least three employees have workers’ compensation policies to ensure that their employees are safe and protected in case of an accidental injury. Even with all the proper safety designs and mechanisms in place, injuries still occur. This is true whether the injury occurs in a dangerous occupation, such as construction, or in a less physically demanding occupation like office work. Regardless, workplace accidents are often devastating and, usually, completely avoidable. If you were injured in a workplace accident, it is important to contact Las Cruces workplace accident lawyers as soon as possible to discuss a claim.
If you or a loved one were the victim of a workplace accident in Las Cruces, New Mexico, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation with a Las Cruces personal injury lawyer.
Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that most employers in New Mexico must have. The insurance provides medical and wage benefits for employees who are injured while working and miss work as a result. The employer pays an insurance companies premiums that will cover the lost wages and medical expenses of all injured employees. The upside for employers in agreeing to provide their employees with workers’ compensation benefits is that, in exchange for workers’ compensation, any injured employee gives up the right to sue the employer for negligence.
Steps to Take Immediately After a Workplace accident in Las Cruces
Following a workplace accident, you are likely concerned with what to do next. There are important steps you can take to support your claim if you were injured in a workplace accident:
1. Stop Work Immediately
The first step to take after your workplace accident injury is to stop what you are doing and notify your manager of your injury. There is the temptation to finish an assignment, however, continuing with your work could aggravate your injuries further and make recovery more difficult. Additionally, by continuing to work, you may receive less in benefits, as continuation of work can cast doubt on the severity of your injuries.
2. Seek Medical Attention if Injured
After you stop working, you should evaluate your health after the accident. Injuries from a workplace accident can range from minor cuts, scrapes, or aches to serious life-threatening injuries, such as paralysis or even death. If your injuries are severe, go to a medical facility as soon as possible. Even if you do not think that your injuries require immediate medical attention, it is a good idea to visit a medical professional and keep them updated on any new health developments. Many workplace accidents result in ailments that linger for weeks and sometimes months or longer. Additionally, sometimes symptoms of a severe injury do not disappear until long after the accident has happened. Therefore, by getting your injuries addressed by a medical professional, you are putting yourself in the best position to begin your road to recovery.
3. Report Your Injuries
Afterwards, you will want to file an accident report with your employer. By filing a formal accident report, you are creating an official record of your injuries, which is crucial for settlement negotiations. Additionally, your employer’s policy may require that you report your accident or else risk losing benefits entirely. Furthermore, confirm with your employer’s human resources officer or other high-ranking official regarding any additional paperwork you may need to fill out to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Importantly, an experienced workplace accident attorney can inform you of the proper paperwork to complete under state law.
4. Document the Evidence
Although you typically may not sue your employer for your workplace injury, it is still important to collect evidence and document information from the scene of the accident, as you could use this information later. Documentation can assist your attorney with determining the extent of your injuries, how the accident happened, and who is responsible. Documents that you will want in your possession include:
- Photographs of your injuries
- Photographs from the scene of the accident
- Medical bills
- Copies of the accident report
Additionally, witnesses can strengthen your claim. If there were any witnesses at the scene of your workplace accident, try to obtain their contact details. Additionally, if any of the witnesses took photographs of the accident, ask if you can obtain a copy of the photographs.
5. Speak with a Las Cruces Personal Injury Lawyer
Next, you should contact a Las Cruces personal injury attorney if you have questions about your injuries or about the events leading up to and surrounding your workplace accident. The attorney will want to hear your side of the story and review any relevant documents that can strengthen your case. Plus, we can further investigate your case by uncovering additional facts to aid in determining what your claim is worth.
6. Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Typically, you can file a workers’ compensation claim prior to obtaining your attorney. However, your lawyer can greatly assist with the claim process. For example, your lawyer can tell you whether you are exempt from filing a personal injury claim against your employer or if you can file a claim against another party who is responsible for your injuries.
Read More: When to Hire a Workplace Injury Lawyer
7. Settlement and Trial
If your personal injury attorney files a lawsuit against the responsible party or parties, the attorney will likely negotiate with the responsible party and their insurance company on your behalf to obtain a favorable monetary settlement for you. Typically, trials are rare for workers’ compensation claims and usually settle u out of court. However, if the negotiations are unsuccessful, your lawyer will bring your case to trial and pursue maximum compensation in court. In that scenario, your injury attorney will advocate zealously on your behalf.
Common Causes For workplace accidents in Las Cruces
Generally, the most common causes of workplace accidents are:
- Contact with objects and equipment
- Exposure to harmful chemicals
- Slip and Falls
Additionally, if you are operating a work vehicle while in the course of your employment, you may be able to receive benefits. Although your claim may have a lot of complexity and moving parts, at Zinda Law Group, your Las Cruces workplace injury lawyer is equipped with the capability and knowledge to investigate all matters regarding your claim.
Types of Injuries in a Las Cruces Workplace Accident
Workplace accidents can be the direct cause of a wide range of different injuries. Here are just a few of the more common examples of injuries sustained in workplace accidents:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Rib fractures
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Electrical shocks
- Broken bones
As you can see, workplace accidents lead to a variety of injuries. At Zinda Law Group, your Las Cruces personal injury attorney will understand the seriousness of your injuries and will help you pursue maximum compensation for your injuries, pain, and suffering.
Potentially Responsible Parties For Your Workplace accident injuries
Typically, the party responsible for your workplace accident injuries are your employer, the manufacturer of the defective machinery or equipment, or a co-worker.
Usually, an employee is unable to bring a personal injury lawsuit against an employer who has a workers’ compensation policy. However, there are exceptions, such as if the employer intentionally caused the employee’s accident. Further, if you are an independent contractor, you can sue the employer as independent contractors are exempt from workers’ compensation policies.
Sometimes, your workplace accident is due to defective machinery or equipment. If that is the case, your workplace injury lawyer can consider pursuing a claim against the manufacturer for failing to properly build the machinery or equipment. Additionally, if your employer is the manufacturer of the defective machinery or equipment, you could pursue a products liability claim against the employer in lieu of a personal injury lawsuit.
Read More: Product Liability Lawyers
Importantly, a workers’ compensation policy shields an employer from personal liability, but it does not protect a fellow employee from a lawsuit. Therefore, if a co-worker causes your workplace accident, you can bring a personal injury claim against the employee.
Demanding Compensation After a Las Cruces Workplace Accident
Under New Mexico law, you can pursue damages for your injuries, including any medical expenses incurred through treatment, as well as for any long-lasting trauma. Furthermore, New Mexico law grants a plaintiff the ability to pursue economic damages, noneconomic damages, or punitive damages.
Economic damages refer to compensation for monetary losses, such as out-of-pocket medical expenses (past and future), loss of earnings, rehabilitation expenses, personal care costs, and loss of future employment. These damages are the easiest to calculate as they have an obvious dollar amount.
Non-economic damages refer to compensation for non-monetary losses such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of companionship. Non-economic damages are harder to quantify than economic damages as they do not have an obvious dollar amount.
Unlike economic and non-economic damages, punitive damages punish the responsible party rather than make the victim “whole again.” A court may award punitive damages in addition to economic damages in a situation where the responsible party acted in a willful and wanton manner. Furthermore, in the scenario where you do receive punitive damages, the total value of the punitive damages cannot exceed the total amount recovered for compensatory damages. After a workplace accident in Las Cruces, you should consult with your Las Cruces personal injury attorney to determine whether you should pursue punitive damages.
However, because New Mexico is a pure comparative negligence state, it is important to understand that if a court determines that you have any responsibility for your accident, your compensation reduces by the percentage you are found at fault. For example, if you sue a defendant homeowner for $10,000 and are 25% at fault, you will receive $7,500 in damages instead of the full $10,000. Additionally, New Mexico law states that if a court determines that a plaintiff is more than 50% at fault, the plaintiff can still recover compensation. This means that if your total damages are $10,000 and the court determines that you are 90% at fault, you can recover $1,000.
Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim if a Loved Died from a Workplace Accident?
Losing a loved one is never easy, no matter the circumstances, however, when a loved one dies due to a workplace accident it can be especially traumatizing. Under New Mexico law, when a workplace accident is fatal, a loved one of the deceased employee is allowed to bring a wrongful death claim or a workers’ compensation claim, but not both. The purpose of the law is that a loved one should be able to “step in the shoes” and file any claim that the employee would have been able to if they survived.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit in New Mexico?
The statute of limitations is the legal time limit an injured party has to bring a claim for their injury or the injury of someone that the party represents. Every state has a statute of limitations. In New Mexico, the state’s civil statute of limitations for a personal injury is two years from the date of the injury. That means that if your injury occurred on January 1, 2022, you have until January 1, 2024, to file a claim.
Furthermore, every state has a period for notifying an employer of your work-related accident. In New Mexico, you must notify your employer within 15 days of the accident or else you cannot receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Contact Our Zinda Law Group Las Cruces Workplace accident lawyers today
After an accident at work, you may feel tremendous stress about medical bills and other expenses. Additionally, due to the complexity of workplace accident claims, you will want to speak with an attorney who is experienced in workplace accident claims. Fortunately, at Zinda Law Group our workplace accident attorneys have the experience, expertise, and compassion needed to protect your legal rights and pursue maximum compensation following your workplace accident. While we focus on your claim, you can focus on recovering.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a workplace accident in Las Cruces, New Mexico, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation with an experienced Las Cruces workplace injury lawyer. You pay nothing unless we win your case. That is our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.